Antiviral Reviews

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April 25, 2015
A stylized, unsettling jab at celebrity obsession and the consequences that stem from it. Basically this man works for a clinic that sells celebrity strains of common colds, diseases, and afflictions to a hyper - obsessed public. Brandon Cronenberg, son of esteemed freakazoid David Cronenberg, directs so definitely watch if you're into hallucinogenic, bloody, uncomfortable weirdness.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
April 14, 2015
In "Antiviral," you must excuse Syd March(Caleb Landry Jones) for feeling ill today. He has injected a celebrity virus into himself, in order to get it past security at the clinic where he works, so he can sell it on the black market. Luckily for him, he is not the worker who gets caught smuggling. So, he gets promoted to pay a house call to Hannah Geist(Sarah Gadon) to collect her latest virus.

Admittedly, "Antiviral" does have a creepy atmosphere and a creepier Malcolm McDowell. But its story really does not add up to much. However, it does have one truly great idea. Which is that celebrity culture is in fact a very contagious and dangerous virus. After all, Bill Hicks did say that humanity is a virus with shoes.
February 16, 2013
Antiviral is an interesting first step for Brandon Cronenberg since there are a lot of comparisons than can be made in terms of subject matter to his father David's early work ranging from the Brood, Dead Ringers and the Fly, particularly the creepy fascination of the merging of everything organic and synthetic along with sketchy fascinations with the seedier side of normal behavior. In this case, Brandon has created a little tale of the nature of celebrity and the lengths some people go to to be closer to the stars they idolize, in this case purchasing the varying Hollywood viruses that are rampaging along Sunset Boulevard. When the lastest epidemic is discovered and accidently infects the star scientist Caleb Jones, we going down the prototypical rabbit hole to try and figure out a way to cure and monopolize on the discovery before Caleb becomes a commodity himself. The biggest difference between father and son really here is just hi def production feel and a lot of sterile environments that come into play otherwise seems to be an on the nose tribute to his dad. Average since it doesn't really add anything new but an interesting watch to see if the Cronenberg creepiness is still able to affect all these years later.
½ February 15, 2015
stvarno solidan debut cronenberga jr.
January 3, 2015
Unfettered capitalism, coroporatism, the worship of anti-intellectualism and the fetishization of celebrity's ultimate result brilliantly portrayed in this futuristic film. Caleb Jones is absolutely perfect as the protagonist working at a corporation selling celebrity viruses to allow fans to feel close to their favourite stars by having the same viruses that they do. Caleb Jones as Syd March has that ethereal beauty and paleness to pull of the part perfectly as does Sarah Gadon as Hannah Geist the main star on exclusive contract with the Lucas Clinic. I take this film as a caricature of what we are becoming and it's not pretty.
½ January 2, 2015
An allegorical and pinching critique of the celebrity culture, dehumanizing consumerism and hollowness of today's society by the young Canadian Director, Brandon Cronenberg . I am not surprised that this is not popular movie. People don't like to be criticized head-on. The visuals are also stunning.
December 26, 2014
As if disease and sickness permeated the film itself, Brandon Cronenberg's directorial debut almost seems to radiate both off the screen and onto the viewer, making for an uncomfortably tense but powerful film, even if the cynic in me says that the film loses momentum around the halfway point before the end saves it, and that it could've tapped more into the satirical potential of its down-right brilliant concept with its themes of celebrity, celebrity worship and the loss of identity that results from it.

8/10
December 9, 2014
Creative and clever theme. I just got confused throughout the movie yet I was never bored of it.
½ December 4, 2014
Antiviral (Brandon Cronenberg, 2012)

The whole time I was watching Antiviral, the debut film from Brandon Cronenberg-if the last name sounds familiar, it's because Brandon is the son of revered Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg-I was thoroughly enchanted with it. I kept having to remind myself that, yes, the movie does have some shortcomings, and they kept it from rating higher than it did. But the movie's immense style made me want to gloss those shortcomings over. This is definitely a case of form over function, and in that, early Brandon is on the same track as early David was-and by "early" with David Cronenberg I'm talking about his earliest features, 1969's Stereo and 1970's Crimes of the Future, rather than the "early" stuff everyone's seen (Shivers, Rabid, and The Brood, by the last of which Cronenberg had already, as far as I'm concerned, reached the heights of body-horror greatness he would plumb until 1999's eXistenZ). When it comes right down to it, you're going to want to say you knew him when.

Plot: Syd March (No Country for Old Men's Caleb Landry Jones) works for a near-future company that specializes in a new form of celebrity-worship; they harvest diseases from celebrities, culture them, and infect paying clients with the same strain of the same disease their heroes have. In any case, supermodel Hannah Geist (Dracula Untold's Sarah Gadon) is rumored to have a brand new disease that no one has ever seen before, and Syd's company is desperate to get their hands on some of it. Syd is on the case-not only because he's good at his job, but because, unknown to his company, he is obsessed with Hannah.

Brandon does things the same way Dad does-build the characters well enough so that no matter how weird the situations, things remain somewhat plausible. Where Brandon differs is that it was pretty rare to find a pre-Spider Cronenberg film that seemed in any way realistic. In the days of ubiquitous reality TV and websites devoted to celebrity gossip seeing millions of hits per day, Brandon's near-future vision seems all too realistic. While there's an obvious body-horror aspect to what goes on here, this is more a movie about atmosphere, tension, and paranoia than it is about gross-out special effects, and it benefits tremendously from this. An tiviral is a touch unformed and maybe could've used one more rewrite to tighten up the plot, but it's stylish, creepy, and excels at portions of the filmmaker's craft that many journeymen have never mastered; a very good debut from a promising filmmaker. Can't wait to see what he does next. *** 1/2
½ November 7, 2014
Challenging to watch! But I am a fan of indie films. Only for those who can stomach it.
½ August 12, 2012
Well intentioned but honestly very empty.
½ September 2, 2014
Strange is the only word that describes this movie.....
July 20, 2013
I expected more from the brood of David Cronenberg.
August 24, 2014
a great experience with a wacky-as-hell sci-fi plot. not perfect, but once again, a great experience. it made me feel kind of exhausted and sick, frankly. very stylish. cronenberg-lite, but still with plenty of cronenberg.
½ August 19, 2014
Our obsession with celebrity and the culture in general is something that deserves to be satired and skewered, and Antiviral makes its critiques consistently and with real conviction. Antiviral tells the story of a future where people pay to be injected with the same diseases that celebrities have had, to a achieve a type of biological communion with them. The lead is a worker at this clinic who injects himself with a dose of a celebrities fatal disease. Antiviral is a very interesting piece of work thats created with real conviction and competency. Unfortunately interesting is all it really ever is. The premise and ideas are so outlandish that they fail to ever really work as satire. There's not much in this film that feels like it could actually connect to our real world, and so it doesn't skewer the idea of celebrity as well as it should. Also, the lead character is an absolute mannequin, not because he's badly acted, but because he has no character or personality outside of his actions. The result is a cold, emotionally distant film that doesn't disturb as much as it wants to. If you want a disturbing film about our modern life, you could do much better.
½ August 5, 2014
Our obsession with celebrity and the culture in general is something that deserves to be satired and skewered, and Antiviral makes its critiques consistently and with real conviction. Antiviral tells the story of a future where people pay to be injected with the same diseases that celebrities have had, to a achieve a type of biological communion with them. The lead is a worker at this clinic who injects himself with a dose of a celebrities fatal disease. Antiviral is a very interesting piece of work thats created with real conviction and competency. Unfortunately interesting is all it really ever is. The premise and ideas are so outlandish that they fail to ever really work as satire. There's not much in this film that feels like it could actually connect to our real world, and so it doesn't skewer the idea of celebrity as well as it should. Also, the lead character is an absolute mannequin, not because he's badly acted, but because he has no character or personality outside of his actions. The result is a cold, emotionally distant film that doesn't disturb as much as it wants to. If you want a disturbing film about our modern life, you could do much better.
July 24, 2014
In the future, companies make bank by injecting people with the viruses contracted by their most revered super-celebrities, in a twisted effort to become closer to their idols. A tech at one of these companies also smuggles the fresh virii out of his building by injecting himself; trouble arises when the celebrity unexpectedly dies, leaving the staffer little time to learn what went wrong before he suffers the same fate.

Syd March (Caleb Landry Jones) is that tech, Syd. He's got a pretty sweet gig, selling the virii he harvests to pirates who then alternately inject people with the virus (for a nice price) and grow the equivalent of steaks - really! - with the pathogens for their customers' dining pleasure. How does he do this? Volume! No, actually, what the company does is inject the virus into a machine that essentially copy protects the virus, making the virus proprietary. His company, the Lucas Clinic, is contracted to take blood from dying celeb Hannah Geist (Sarah Gadon), and Syd injects himself and quickly becomes disoriented, weak, and feverish. When Syd attempts to remove the copy protection by using his own machine, the console is destroyed.

It is a story that shines a bright, infected light on society's devotion to all things celebrity. How far would a superfan go to be a part of a famous person's life? Would they infect themselves with noncontagious herpes? Chew on a regrown kidney? You know something...I think they would, at least the more deranged and sociopathic fans. Such a connection is exponentially stronger than a simple autographed photo. You've not just been recognized by them; you are part of them.

The director is one Brandon Cronenberg, son of David, and the son has the same predilection for the macabre as the father. The obsession with celebrities, all too apparent in real life, is shown to be pretty normal in the film's fictional universe, and yet the horror of playing with the fire of fast-spreading pathogens undercuts this seeming normalcy with an almost Jones' Syd pretends to be just another hustler, but he's really as demented as his customers (and clients). Jones plays Syd perfectly as a shady, somewhat-sullen man of little distinction; also noteworthy are Joe Pingue as Arvid (employee of the celebrity meat market), Wendy Crewson as the head of a rival pathogen company, and Malcolm McDowell, playing yet another doctor, this time with skin grafts from his favorite celebrity.

Antiviral is a horror mystery, with buckets of blood and oodles of intrigue. It's a creepy allegory of man's lust for fame of any kind, viewed through a prism of late-1980s Canadian horror. It's a fine, engrossing film.
½ July 10, 2014
Have to disagree with the Critics here, though the idea is kinda original. But it lacks something, its boring but interesting. More like an Obsession for someone, quite disturbing actually

2.5 Stars!
July 5, 2014
Brandon is following in his fathers footsteps with a very fresh, provocative film that is almost believable in our toxic celebrity culture.
February 17, 2014
It was a disturbing and thought provoking premise that stayed with me for days! I saw it again just now and I'm still in awe of the genius of this film!

Caleb Landry Jones gave a performance of a lifetime! It was way beyond creepy, it was truly a frightening spectacle! I look forward to viewing future films featuring this brilliant young actor!
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